Our unconscious minds – the shame trap

By Dave Henning / June 16, 2020

“Shame is . . . so powerful that our unconscious minds will do almost anything to protect us from experiencing it.  That can lead to falling into the shame trap of denial and isolation, as if those will protect us.  Instead they have a way of delaying our healing. . . .  In a very real sense, we have to rebuild our hope, our optimism, and our ability to trust again.”- Phil Waldrep

As Phil Waldrep continues Chapter 4 of Beyond Betrayal, he cautions against correlating material or perceived blessings with the approval of God.  Conversely, we can’t associate the lack of blessings with the disapproval of God.  For Jesus says in Matthew 5:45 (ESV) — “He [God] makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Furthermore, just suppose things look good at the present for your betrayer – a Kodak moment.  That hardly determines how things will end up.  On the other hand, perhaps things don’t look sunny for you right now.  Tomorrow – or a year from now – might look quite different.  Above all, Phil exhorts:

“The thing is, you can’t be responsible for how God deals with the other person — with the person who betrayed you — you have influence only over how open you are to His dealing with you.”

In addition, the author sees identity as a very fragile thing.  We crave significance.  So, when we see a close relationship shattered by betrayal, we feel shattered as well.  As a result, shame settles in as if the betrayal now determines our identity.

Consequently, we find ourselves in danger of falling into the shame trap of denial and isolation.  But, Phil encourages, it’s possible to emerge even stronger than before:

“Just as 9/11 shattered our place in the world as Americans, betrayal shatters our place in the world as an individual.  Our place will not be the same as it was before, but it can be restored.  Believe it or not, our place can be stronger that it was before the betrayal occurred.”

Today’s question: What Scriptures keep our unconscious minds from falling into the shame trap?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Process the grief of our loss”

About the author

Dave Henning

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